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High Temps Mean More Business for Doggie Day Care

By Mary Johnson | July 24, 2011 5:44am

TURTLE BAY — The dog days of summer hit Manhattan as temperatures reached a record 104 degrees Friday, and 100 degrees Saturday.

But for one group of pups, the heat was not about to get them down.

Inside Precious Pets, a grooming and day care facility on First Avenue between East 50th and 51st streets, a dozen dogs trotted around the air-conditioned room, tugging at chew toys and getting their fill of daily exercise with a session on the company’s canine treadmill.

Store manager Sloan Bruno said he has seen a noticeable increase in business as temperatures climbed over the past several days.

Some customers come in every day regardless of the weather, Bruno said. But his more sporadic clients have been coming by more often to avoid giving their pets — and themselves — a brisk walk in scorching heat.

Five-month-old Moose is a work-out fiend, while 3-year-old Chainsaw likes to get treats as he strolls.
Five-month-old Moose is a work-out fiend, while 3-year-old Chainsaw likes to get treats as he strolls.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

“You can’t take a dog to a park on a day like today,” said Raianna Rizzo, a veterinary technician at Precious Pets, who was supervising day care activities on Friday.

The treadmill, which allows pets to get their exercise without risk of overheating, was a particular draw for many owners.

Violet, a white and brown spaniel, logged 46 minutes on the treadmill on Friday.

She was a little sluggish after the run, but Rizzo joked, “You’re going to be fitting in that bikini in no time." 

For Remy, a high-energy Pomeranian who darted onto the treadmill as soon as he entered the play area, daily jogs keep him from going a bit “bananas,” Rizzo said.

Food motivated Chainsaw, a 3-year-old pup with curly black and white fur and a bit of a mohawk. As he walked on Friday, his eyes never left the treats that Rizzo dangled in front of his nose.

And 5-month-old Moose, a black ball of fur, refused to give up the treadmill no matter how many dogs tried to push him out of the way.

He just likes to work out, Rizzo said.

Rizzo makes sure to monitor the dogs when they are on the treadmill, checking their gums and eyes to make sure they don’t overheat. There is a small, stainless steel water bowl at the front end of the machine, in case they get thirsty.

But any risk they face inside, she said, is much lower what they would encounter outside in 100-degree or higher temperatures.

On its website, the ASPCA urged pet owners to keep their animals hydrated in the hot summer months and to watch for warning signs like difficulty breathing, seizures and vomiting, which often accompany heat stroke.

The organization also advocates keeping dogs and cats inside when it gets particularly steamy.

“Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat,” said Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, on the site.

She added: "Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.”